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Business Highlights: World gas prices, crypto winter

Business Highlights: World gas prices, crypto winter

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How much for gas? Around the world, pain is felt at the pump

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — Around the world, drivers are looking at the numbers on the gas pump and rethinking their habits and finances. Walking, biking, public transport, or going car-free are options for the lucky ones. But for minibus operators in the Philippines or a graphic artist in California with clients to visit, it’s not so simple. Those without access to adequate public transportation or who otherwise can’t forgo their car have little other choice than to grit their teeth and pay. Energy prices fueled by Russia’s war in Ukraine and the global rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic are a key driver of inflation that is rising worldwide.

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Crypto investors’ hot streak ends as harsh ‘winter’ descends

NEW YORK (AP) — The wealth-generating hot streak for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has turned brutally cold. As prices plunge, companies collapse and skepticism soars, fortunes and jobs are disappearing overnight, and investors’ feverish speculation has been replaced by icy calculation, in what industry leaders are referring to as a “crypto winter.” On Monday, the price of bitcoin traded at $20,097, more than 70% below its November peak of around $69,000. Experts say the selloff signals growing trepidation on Wall Street and Main Street about the crypto industry’s fundamentals, which right now are looking shaky.

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Biden says decision on gas tax holiday may come this week

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (AP) — President Joe Biden says he’s considering pressing for a holiday on the federal gasoline tax. That could possibly save U.S. consumers as much as 18.4 cents a gallon. Biden told reporters Monday that his decision could come by the end of the week. The administration is increasingly looking for ways to spare the public from higher prices at the pump, which began to climb last year and surged after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Gas prices nationwide are averaging just under $5 a gallon, according to AAA. Taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel help pay for highways.

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Germany sticks to 2030 coal exit target amid energy worries

BERLIN (AP) — The German government says it remains committed to its goal of phasing out coal as a power source by 2030, despite deepening worries about a cut in Russia’s gas supplies. Russia’s Gazprom announced last week that it was sharply reducing supplies through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany for what it said were technical reasons. The German government says the move appears politically motivated. On Sunday, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said Germany will try to compensate by allowing increased burning of coal, a more polluting fossil fuel. Habeck, a member of the Green party, said the move was “bitter” but “simply necessary.” A spokesman for his ministry said Monday that the 2030 target “isn’t wobbling at all.”

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JetBlue raises offer again in bidding for Spirit Airlines

NEW YORK (AP) — JetBlue is boosting its offer to buy Spirit Airlines, raising the stakes again in the bidding war over the nation’s biggest budget airline. JetBlue said Monday that it offered $33.50 per share, or $2 per share more than its last bid two weeks ago. JetBlue is trying to outbid Frontier Airlines, which struck a deal to buy Spirit back in February. Shareholders of Florida-based Spirit are scheduled to vote on the Frontier bid next week. JetBlue is trying to convince investors to kill the Frontier offer and drive Spirit into JetBlue’s arms.

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UK set for national railway strike as last-ditch talks fail

LONDON (AP) — Britain is facing its biggest rail strikes in decades after last-minute talks between a union and train companies failed to reach a settlement over pay and job security. Up to 40,000 cleaners, signalers, maintenance workers and station staff are due to walk out for three days this week, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The strike is expected to shut down the rail network across the country. Millions of people in Britain are seeing their cost of living soar, and unions say a new wave of strikes is likely if they don’t get pay increases. The Conservative government says large raises will spark a wage-price spiral driving inflation even higher. ___

World shares mixed; bitcoin holds steady near $20,000

TOKYO (AP) — European benchmarks are higher after most Asian markets retreated, while the price of bitcoin hovered near $20,000. U.S. futures advanced and oil prices fell back early Monday. China kept its 1-year and 5-year loan prime rates unchanged as it struggles to spur a recovery while keeping coronavirus outbreaks under control. U.S. markets were closed for the Juneteenth holiday and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell is set to testify before Congress later in the week. The price of bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency bounced during the weekend, at one point plunging nearly 10% to under $18,600, according to the cryptocurrency news site CoinDesk.

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Stallone, Costner, Chastain help launch Paramount+ in UK

LONDON (AP) — Paramount+ flexed the star power of its shows as it prepares to launch in the United Kingdom with a London event attended by Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, Kevin Costner, Jessica Chastain and more. The expansion delivers overseas popular programs like Costner’s “Yellowstone” and “Star Trek Discovery” to U.K. audiences. Subscribers will also get to see Stallone’s scripted television debut in “Tulsa King,” in which he plays a Mafia capo. Paramount+ launches Wednesday with more than 8,000 hours of programs. They include Chastain and Michael Shannon in the series “George & Tammy,” along with Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson in “The First Lady,” about U.S. presidents’ wives.